Part 2 of 3 – Grief: Sorrow Shared

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Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer

This post first appeared July 24, 2022. Due to the number of people who have contacted me privately regarding their own journey with grief, I offer these words again praying that they bring comfort and encouragement.

We all meet grief at some point in our lives. There is no right, better, or perfect way to grieve, but sharing our experiences with others can help us in our own journey. For Part 1 of this 3-part series, click here.

Part 2

During the years of my husband’s paralysis and traumatic-brain injury issues, it became more and more difficult for me to attend funerals, so I stopped.

I stopped because if I fell apart I wouldn’t be able to carry all of me to the car without dropping something.

It wasn’t the grief of the families that bothered me. It was the freedom of their loved one who had passed into the presence of Jesus. It was the liberation that person had finally experienced. The severing of painful and unbearable earthly shackles that I … resented.

That’s hard to confess. It took me a long time to even realize what it was.

I grieved because the husband I’d known was gone yet wasn’t. I grieved when I visited his facility and he didn’t know me. I grieved anew when COVID quarantines took even the visits away.

Isolation dominated my grief, because there were only certain people I wanted to share it with, and General Public was not one of them.

Fellow members of a small-group Bible study had come to the out-of-town hospital on the (very late) night of my husband’s accident. They were there, and that was what I needed—their presence.

They knew I didn’t need answers, explanations, or platitudes.

Those who were close to me carried my pain. They didn’t give me advice, try to explain why, or tell me what I should do— though a retired nurse and mother of many told me to rest because I was going to need it. She was right.

As days rolled into months and years, another friend often called from out-of-state, let me cry the ugly cry, and then prayed for me over the phone.

One of the most comforting things spoken to me was, “I understand.” I rarely needed more than that. It somehow helped redistribute the burden without requiring me to respond graciously.

I wanted to melt into the floor unnoticed. Disappear into a pew at church and not talk. Not share. Not have to smile and nod. I wanted the music to carry me on the voices of other worshippers as I offered my own sacrifice: a broken heart.

But everyone is not like me. Grief is too personal for generalities.

For some people, it is easier to share with strangers. They find help in grief counseling or in groups found at Hospice, nursing homes, or churches.

As time passed, I discovered the double edge of a familiar scripture. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” says Galatians 6:2. It cuts both ways.

That mandate also applies to those who are doing the suffering. Even as we grieve, we can look outside ourselves and find others we can help. People all around us are in need and in pain, but we may never know it unless we ask God to show us.

We don’t have to bombard others (please don’t). Be sensitive. Find out what they need by asking someone else if necessary. Pour into their lives anonymously. Pray for them.

That is sorrow shared.

One message I received from a friend was signed, “Lifting you up.” She had no idea what those words meant to me.

It turned out that I was not forgotten after all. Even in spite of my self-inflicted solitude.


Grief is too personal for generalities. Share on X

If you are someone who finds healing in groups, check with local churches, hospitals, Hospice, and nursing homes. You may also find comfort through the following links:

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6 thoughts on “Part 2 of 3 – Grief: Sorrow Shared

  1. Barbara Sanford

    I read where Alzheimer’s is called the “long goodbye” ,but it is not the only form of that. For you, you lost Mike twice…and the period between those days was also a very long goodbye. He died the day of that accident, when you lost the one you leaned on to be there, your confidant, helper, lover…the body was still there…but that was all…and a very long goodbye began. And then, there was the final goodbye…how can one face this twice? You did a great job…and did it your own way…as it should be. I was told I handled Ed’s death so well…no, I did not…but my grief was tempered by his release from a body which turned on him almost 50 years before and now he knew real rest…no more frustration…countless ER trips. I had to feel a kind of joy which most people can not comprehend…which some might consider unfeeling or almost traitorous. Grief is as personal as our breath.

    1. davalynn

      Well-said, Barbara: “Grief is as personal as our breath.” Amen.

  2. Deanna Sturgeon

    Thank you for sharing Davalynn! I’m glad you had friends to help you!

    1. davalynn

      Thank you, Deanna.

  3. Thank you, Davalynn, for your transparency. I’m looking forward to reading part 3

    1. davalynn

      Thank you, Janet. I’m glad it’s a blessing for you.


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